Woman hospitalized after drinking McDonald's Sweet Tea - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Woman hospitalized after drinking McDonald's Sweet Tea

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - A woman claims she ordered a cup of sweet tea at a McDonald's restaurant in Gastonia and received a mixture of tea and a sanitizing product.

The alleged incident happened Saturday, March 5, at the restaurant located at the corner of Hoffman and Gaston Day School roads.

Shawna Bruce stops at this McDonald's nearly every day before work to order a biscuit and sweet tea, but she says the tea she received during this visit, had a very different taste.

"As I swallowed the tea, my throat started to burn really bad," she said.

She took the tea back and talked to the manager on duty.

"She [manager] immediately opened up the lid, and as she opened it up, she leaned back a little bit and said, 'This is our cleaning sanitizer', and I said, "Ok, I drank this, this morning,'" Bruce said. 

She went to a hospital emergency room to get checked out and the doctor tested the tea.

"Come to find out, it's chlorinated sanitizer or McDonald's sanitizer and this is what I swallowed," Bruce said.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, McDonald's sanitizer is a form of chlorine which is used as a cleaning agent.

"That whole day, my throat was tingling, it was burning," Bruce said.

Jeff Stanton is the owner and operated of the McDonalds restaurant and he spoke with WBTV Wednesday morning. 

"We know what she has alleged," Stanton said. "We definitely clean our equipment with sanitizer. We do our best to clean the equipment and to make sure no sanitizer is left behind."

"We told her we would be glad to work with her to make sure we do whatever we need to do to make things right, but she has not contacted us at this point," he added.

WBTV also spoke with Shannon Club at the Gaston County Health Department. She confirmed they had completed their investigation into the matter, but they did not get the complaint until Monday. 

The health department did a walk-through inspection of the restaurant and found the their cleaning procedure was fine.

Club said health officials concluded there was no evidence of a problem with what McDonald's was doing by cleaning their equipment. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, McDonald's public relations firm in Raleigh released the following statement on behalf of Jeff Stanton:

Rest assured, I take this matter seriously. Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of my customers. Upon learning about these allegations, I began an investigation to gather the facts. I was just as alarmed to hear about these claims as anyone would be. I have not received any other complaints by customers. At this time, these are just allegations. The Health Department was notified about this matter and visited my restaurant earlier this week. At this time they concluded that there were no food safety or sanitation issues. My employees follow regular sanitation procedures. This includes cleaning of the beverage equipment. My restaurant has an exemplary track record with the Gaston County Health Department. And while I hate to think of any of my customers suffering in any way, I strongly caution anyone from jumping to conclusions without having all the facts.

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